15 best antivirus Android apps and anti-malware Android apps
Antivirus Android apps remain one of the most popular types of applications on Android. There have been arguments ad nauseum as to the benefit of antivirus apps and anti-malware apps on Android and those arguments are generally warranted. However, some people either like having that extra security or just want to be extra cautious just in case and there is nothing wrong with that. In this list, we’ll check out the best antivirus Android apps and anti-malware apps on Android!
- Looking for antivirus apps? Why not pick up a file manager app to help you keep your device organized?
- The 15 best Android apps ever!
Before you start thinking about antivirus software, the first line of defence in Android security is a solid VPN. One that users 256-bit encryption, doesn’t keep logs, and offers 24-hour Live Chat support. We recommend ExpressVPN for Android. It’s $8.32 per month but you can get your money back within 30 days if you’re not completely satisfied.
360 Security is one of the most popular and highly rated antivirus Android apps available right now with over 100 million downloads and 10 million ratings resulting in a 4.6 overall rating. This antivirus and anti-malware app comes with a ton of features, including the ability to scan your device files for malware, scan your apps and games, enable real-time protection, and even comes with an anti-theft feature. You can also use the app’s built in cleaner and booster service if you want, but the validity of those types of features aren’t particularly substantiated. Perhaps the most useful feature for this one is an app lock that lets you password protect any app on your device which is great for keeping nosy people away. The best part? It’s completely and totally free.
[Price: Free / $2.59/month / $23.17 per year / $99.65 or $119.85 for lifetime licenses]
AndroHelm’s Mobile Security app is a lesser known option that can still provide a bunch of benefits. The main functionality focuses solely on security with features that include real-time protection from malware and spyware, scanning apps upon installation, frequent updates of the antivirus database, quarantine mode, app backups, virus protection, and a lot more. One of the more useful features include a set of functions that let you remotely block your device, delete stuff from it, and let you find your device in the cast of theft. The pricing structure is a bit complicated and the design could use an overhaul, but the functionality is solid and the app should work pretty well.
You can find all of AndroHelm Mobile Security’s pricing options by clicking here.
[Price: Free / $11.99 per year]
Avira Antivirus Security is a relatively newer and lesser known antivirus app but it’s quickly growing into one that people really seem to like. It comes with the basic stuff like device scanning, real-time protection, and even the ability to scan the external SD. It also includes modern features, like a Stagefright Advisor to help you work around that particular vulnerability. There is also some anti-theft feature, privacy features, blacklisting features, and device admin features. It’s a heavier antivirus app, but it doesn’t necessarily feel that way all the time. It’s worth a shot if for no other reason than to check out the Stagefright Adviser!
Antivirus and Mobile Security by TrustGo is an app with a philosophy. The developers have talked about how they built the app from the ground up for mobile protection against mobile threats and this app does that. It has the basic features such as device scanning to look for existing threats, real-time protection, and a privacy guard that helps show you what apps are using which permissions (which, admittedly, won’t be nearly as awesome after Android 6.0). It does include secondary features such as a system manager, find-my-phone functionality, and data backup if you need it. It’s not quite as heavy as some of these competitors, but it is by no means a lightweight. It’s also 100% free to use.
[Price: Free / $1.99/month / $14.99/year]
AVAST Mobile Security comes from Avast, a name that many people recognize from the antivirus market on PC. Avast on Android is just as well-known and trusted with over 100 million installs and just shy of four million reviews with a 4.5 overall rating in Google Play. The features include the usual device scanning, app scanning, and real-time protection but also includes consistent antivirus database updates, anti-theft features, and the ability to remote lock your device in case you lose it. AVAST is definitely one of the heavier antivirus Android apps that we’ve found and it comes with a metric ton of features that creates a pretty sturdy experience. If you go pro, you’ll get even more features including remote data recovery, remote SMS, geo-fencing, ad detection, and app locking.
[Price: Free / $3.99/month / $14.99/year]
AVG Antivirus Security is another antivirus Android app that many people know about from AVG’s time in the PC antivirus space. As such, it has over 100 million downloads to date and a respectable 4.4 rating in the Play Store. AVG is a bit lighter of an option compared to other name-brand options and includes real-time protection, device scanning, and consistent antivirus database updates. On top of that, there is a task killer, anti-theft features, remote device data wiping, and you can monitor things like battery, storage, and data usage. The interface on this one is actually pretty good comparatively speaking and the paid subscribers can also get app locking, call and message blocking, and more.
Bitdefender Antivirus Free is perhaps the lightest, most unobtrusive option on this list. It has exactly two features which is to scan and clean your device and then it offers real-time antivirus protection on top of that. The real-time protection scans apps as they are installed and also keeps an eye on what they are doing. The scanning is simple and only takes a few moments to get everything done. This is technically an offshoot of Bitdefender’s much larger antivirus suite, but we found that we loved that there is an option that requires zero configuration and runs as light as this one does. We prefer the light version of the heavy version but if you want to check out the heavy version, you can find it by clicking here.
See also: The best free Android apps
CM Security had some viral success back when it was one of only a few free antivirus Android apps and was, at the time, the best free option available. It has some competition now, but CM Security is still pretty decent when it comes to antivirus and anti-malware protection as it has been ranked very high on AV-TEST repeatedly for several years now. On top of its antivirus and anti-malware features, CM Security also includes one of the better app locks that we’ve used (it even has fingerprint scanner support now) that not only locks your apps, but takes selfies of people trying to nose around in your business. It’s a lot more lightweight than some of its name brand competitors which is good and it’s completely free for everyone.
[Price: Free / $9.90 per year / $18.80 for 2 years / $75 for a lifetime license]
Dr Web’s Mobile Security suite is one that has come a long way since we first put this list three years ago. What started as a simple antivirus app has ballooned into one of the most comprehensive antivirus apps on mobile. It features both express scans and full system scans depending on how much time you have and provides real-time protectiona gainst antivirus and anti-malware. It also provides real-time protection for your external SD card against autorun apps and other miscellany that may infect that. It also has anti-spam features, an ton of anti-theft features (including remote lock, custom remote messages, and remote wiping), a cloud checker, and even firewall support. It’s a highly powerful antivirus Android app that doesn’t come with a lot of clutter or bloat.
[Price: Free / $9.99/year]
Eset Mobile Security and Antivirus is from another popular name in the PC antivirus space (Nod32). It boasted an impressive 100% detection rate in 2015 with frequent updates to the antivirus database to try to maintain that in 2016. You’ll also get scanning and real-time protection as is the norm for these types of apps. What sets Eset apart is that it comes with a tablet interface which is rare in the antivirus Android space and you’ll have a ton of other features to ago along with it. The free version is a little basic which is okay if you just need something simple to scan your device and provide protection. Paid subscribers get anti-theft features and more advanced security features if they choose.
[Price: Free / $9.99 per year / $14.95 per year (license for two devices)]
Kaspersky is another very recognizable name in the antivirus space and their Android apps is intensely popular. Much like Eset’s offering, there is a basic free version that provides the basics with a paid version that adds some proverbial icing on the cake. The list of features includes scanning (free) for malware and viruses while the paid version gets real-time protection, anti-phishing, cloud protection, and anti-theft, as well as smaller features like sounding an alarm to help find your lost device. This one is quite heavy so those with older or lower range devices may feel the heat by using the full version of this one.
[Price: Free / $2.99/month / $29.99/year]
Lookout is a natural option for many users because this antivirus Android app comes installed on many Android devices (particularly those on T-Mobile in the United States). Thankfully, the app isn’t half bad and manages to do its job quite well. The free version is a bit more comprehensive than most and includes antivirus, anti-malware, and anti-theft protection although the paid version gives more of all of those things. Paid subscribers also get anti-theft alerts, real-time web browsing protection, a privacy adviser, and some data backup features. It’s not a bad option and it’s even lighter than many other security suites.
Malwarebytes has an exceptionally good reputation for PC users thanks to its lightweight, no nonsense approach to finding and removing malware. The Android version isn’t much different. It had a bit of a rough start but has since rebounded with a respectable 4.2 rating and five million downloads to date. As we said, this one focuses primarily on antivirus, anti-malware, and anti-spyware so the main features are the device scanning and real-time protection. Otherwise, this is a simple app that manages to get out of the way and not use a ton of system resources. This is especially good for older devices, lower range devices, and for those who don’t want to see any hiccups while running an antivirus app.
[Price: Free / $2.99/month / $29.99/year]
McAfee is arguably one of the most recognizable name in the entire antivirus space and their Android app is faily high profile as well. There is virtually no difference between the free and paid version sans a few features so this is a great way to get a lot of protection for free although the paid version can get some pretty decent features like phone support and backup services. McAfee added a “power booster” into the app which has been the chic thing to do over the last year or so. Ignore that because it’s useless but the protection it offers is actually very good.
[Price: Free / $29.99/year]
Norton Security and Antivirus is from Norton which, like McAfee, ranks up there as one of the most recognizable names in the antivirus space. Over the last year or two, Norton has undergone some positive changes, which includes a more powerful free version of their app along with a bit of a redesign and some extra features added in. Make no mistake, this is a “heavy” antivirus app but it seems to run better than it used to. You’ll get antivirus and anti-malware protection out of the box along with remote locking of your device, alarms to find missing devices, and some privacy features as well. The paid version gets far more features, but it’s nice to see Norton listening to constructive criticism and making positive decisions based on it.
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If we missed any great antivirus Android apps, tell us about them in the comments! To see our complete list of best app lists, click here.
Editor’s Note: Thanks to a change in how Google handles SMS permissions starting in Android 4.4, there isn’t a single antivirus or SMS blocking application that can block SMS/MMS on Android 4.4 KitKat. This is something that Google did, but some antivirus apps list SMS blocking as a paid feature without expressing that it won’t work on certain devices running certain version of Android.